According to the state government 37,000 vehicles travel through the intersection of Toorak Road and the Monash Freeway daily. And the Glen Waverley train line, which also runs through the intersection, carries 160,000 passengers each week.
It’s a busy and congested intersection made worse by boom gates that are lowered for 35 per cent of the peak morning commute – a figure that will grow as more services run on the train line.
But soon a new nine-metre-high sky rail will be built over the intersection, eliminating the need for boom gates altogether.
“This entire area comes to a standstill every morning and afternoon peak when the boom gates are down – that’s why we’re getting rid of them,” said Premier Daniel Andrews in a statement.
Early planning works began in December for the rail bridge, which will connect Kooyong and Tooronga stations in Melbourne’s east. Its aim is to reduce traffic for motorists travelling on the Monash Freeway and Citylink via local roads.
A sky rail – as opposed to an underpass below street-level train tracks – avoids disrupting major telecommunications cables that connect Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The state government says other options would force the closure of Toorak Road for months and disrupt the flow of floodwaters into Gardiners Creek.
The state government also says the proposed design will limit the loss of trees and create new open spaces. The community is being encouraged to provide feedback on how best to use those new spaces and how to improve pedestrian and cycling connections in the area.
The works are part of the Level Crossing Removal Project, which will remove 75 level crossings around Melbourne. Twenty-nine have already been changed, including on the Frankston line at Glen Huntly Road and Neerim Road in Glen Huntly, and on the Cranbourne Line at Webster Street in Dandenong, Greens Road in Dandenong South, Evans Road in Lyndhurst and Camms Road in Cranbourne. A further 25 level crossings will be removed by 2025.
The project in Kooyong is due for completion by 2021.